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    Always Eat After 7PM: Meet Author Joel Marion + An Update

    Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. As always, the opinions expressed below are my own.

    A few days ago, I introduced you to the book Always Eat After 7pm written by Joel Marion.  You can refer back to my first update post here.

    Today, I’m updating you on my first week progress since starting the 14-day Acceleration Phase of Joel’s program.

    Before I get into my update, let me fill you in on some of my favorite things I learned in the first part of the book:

    • Regular nut consumption has been shown to boost metabolism by as much as 11 percent and increase fat burning by up to 50 percent.
    • Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are great late-night snacks fat burning snacks.
    • Other foods like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs, grapefruit, blueberries and cherries are also recommended for late-night snacking
    • The simple 3-minute fat burning morning ritual recommended by Joel – this is my new favorite thing to do in the mornings!

    At the start of the second part of the book, Joel lets readers know what to expect during the first phase of his program:

    “During this phase, you get to eat a variety of protein choices and many different kinds of veggies. You’ll be limiting your calories and carb intake a bit so that your body shifts quickly into fat-burning mode; this is the only phase in which you won’t eat Super Carbs. You do get to enjoy berries, cherries, and dark chocolate, though, along with friendly fats, all of which supply energy and help you feel satisfied.”

    The goal is to focus on getting a certain ratio of macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat to ensure you’re getting enough for fat burning and overall well-being.  Other traditional diets recommend staying under a set calorie threshold each day.

    Once you figure out how many grams of each macro you want to aim for you can plan your meals accordingly.  Joel also recommends utilizing the help of apps like My FitnessPal and My Macros+ to help you easily track your macros daily.  It may sound overly complicated, but it’s not once you get the hang of it.

    I appreciate that there are daily menu and guides with serving sizes listed for both men and women shown in the book.  I found this to be super helpful and made the process feel less intimidating.  I’m also thrilled that many of the foods listed in the daily menus are foods I regularly eat like: grilled chicken breast, grilled lamb chops, and baked salmon.  Win-win!

    Since this is was week one of the program, I was allowed to have a breakfast snack, but the goal was to wean myself off of it through the week which I did for three days.

    Overall, my body feels wonderful, energized and more alert.  I also managed to lose two pounds even though weight loss is not my ultimate goal.  So far, eating at 7pm seems to be working!

    I’ll post another update soon, so stay tuned.

    In the meantime, get up close and personal with Joel Marion by reading a few interview questions below. Also, you can find my Week 1 update by clicking here.

    Q: What inspired you to write the book?

    A: After authoring 6 best selling books it was glaringly obvious there were 2 huge misconceptions about dieting that needed to be exposed. The first is that you can’t eat late at night or before bed, which science now shows is NOT true. And second, you can’t eat large portions that satisfy your natural instinct. This book solves both these problems by providing an evidence-based, enjoyable approach to dieting that can be used by any person to quickly achieve their weight loss goals.

    Q: You’re a six-time best selling author, what is different about this book compared to your others?

    A: Although many of the concepts are similar, the biggest difference is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. You don’t have to deal with the burden of eating every few hours. And you don’t have to skip the carbs at dinnertime or avoid eating before bed.

     Q: How difficult is the Always Eat After 7 PM plan to follow?

    A: It’s not. And that’s exactly why I wrote the book. While any diet is never truly easy, it can be more enjoyable and much easier to adhere to when you understand how Always Eat After 7pm works because it caters to our bodies natural instincts.

    Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion is now available to purchase.

    About the Author

    Joel Marion is a six-time bestselling author, host of the top-ranked inspirational podcast Born to Impact, and the co-founder of BioTrust Nutrition (the largest eCommerce supplement company in the United States). Additionally, his work has been featured in the pages of more than 20 popular national newsstand magazines including Men’s Fitness, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Oxygen, Men’s Journal, and Clean Eating. He resides with his wife, Lisa, and two daughters in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

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    Made for Me: + A Father’s Day Giveaway

    MADE FOR ME

    by Zack Bush, illustrated by Gregorio De Lauretis

    Published by Familius

    Recommended for ages 3 – 5

    Of all the children that ever could be,
    You are the one made just for me.

    From a child’s first uttered “Dada” to his or her first unsteady steps, nothing can adequately convey the joy and awe of watching the birth and growth of a new child. Now releasing as a board book filled with adorable illustrations and the refrain, “You are the one made just for me,” Made for Me is a winning presentation of tender moments that tie a father and his new child together–forever.

    This heartwarming story celebrates a father’s love for his child. Told in rhyming couplets with darling illustrations to match, this story follows a father from his child’s birth through toddlerhood. The repeated phrase “Of all children that ever could be, / you are the one made just for me” allows children to participate and engage in the story while anticipating what will happen next.

    Made for Me makes a great gift for new fathers, Father’s Day or Grandparent’s Day. It beautifully expresses a love for a child in the most endearing way.

    Visit Familius to learn more about the book.

    Ready for your chance to win a copy?  See the giveaway details listed below.

    Father’s Day Giveaway!One (1) lucky winner will receive a copy of Made for Me (U.S. addresses), courtesy of Familius!

    Made for Me: A Father’s Day Giveaway

    Made for Me by Zack Bush
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    Dieting Rules Were Made to Be Broken: Always Eat After 7pm Week #1 by Joel Marion

    Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. As always, the opinions expressed below are my own.

    Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed to have a healthy and stable metabolism which helps keep my body in shape. I also work out regularly at least three to four times per week and eat a well-balanced diet. Although I don’t have a goal to shed any excess weight, I would like to tone up my arms, thighs and stomach. That’s why when the offer to receive an advanced copy of the book Always Eat After 7 PM by Joel Marion came up, I was so excited! Over the next month, I’ll be sharing my experience of the book and program.

    The book is divided up into three parts: The Foundation, Burn Fat in Three Easy Phases and Hit the Kitchen. Joel explains his easy-to-follow program which consists of a 14-day Acceleration Phase that helps kick start the program so you can see rapid results in the first 14 days. Next, is the Main Phase that advises you of which nutritional foods to eat followed by the Lifestyle Phase that teaches you how to say goodbye to your shed pounds for good.

    Although I never followed any before diets in the past, I do recall hearing about the many fitness myths like “You should never skip breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day” and “Eating food after 7pm makes you fat.” I was pleased to hear Joel debunk four of popular myths many of us have been led to believe over the years within the first few pages of the book.

    “It’s probably been drilled into your head that eating late at night leads to obesity and excess belly fat. Myths like this one are strangely persistent, even though there’s little research to back them up.”

    In addition to toning up my body, I’m excited to read about the list of fat-burning sweet and salty pre-bedtime snacks and learn some new recipes in the easy-to-follow meals plans. I’ll post an update soon, so stay tuned!

    In the meantime, check out Joe’s go-to snacks and recipes here. Learn more about the book and how to purchase here.

    About the Author
    Joel Marion is a six-time bestselling author, host of the top-ranked inspirational podcast Born to Impact, and the co-founder of BioTrust Nutrition (the largest eCommerce supplement company in the United States). Additionally, his work has been featured in the pages of more than 20 popular national newsstand magazines including Men’s Fitness, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Oxygen, Men’s Journal, and Clean Eating. He resides with his wife, Lisa, and two daughters in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

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    How We Organize Our Books at Home + Where to Find Free or Discounted Books

    How We Organize Our Books at Home

    To organize or not to organize, that is the question bibliophiles around the world sometimes discuss both in person and online. Believe it or not, people often get into heated debates about this topic – yes, there are people who take take their books and organization (or lack thereof) VERY seriously.

    I am often asked how we organize our books at home since we are fortunate to have so many of them. Therefore, I finally decided to write a blog post hoping it will help others or spark ideas on different ways to organize books.

    ORGANIZATION METHOD #1: ORGANIZE BY COLOR

    I prefer to organize our books by rainbow color in our family room library. Since those are the main bookshelves in our home, I wanted them to be visually appealing and pleasing to the eye. Plus, I find organizing by color makes it easier for me and my kids to put books away once we’ve read them. This organization method works especially well for smaller kids as it encourages independence. Kids tend to be naturally good at sorting by color as it’s an easy system to follow.

    Side note: Another thing I’ve become really good at by organizing this way is memorizing the book and spine color of books. It’s bizarre to think about how many books I have memorized the colors for.

    ORGANIZATION METHOD #2: ORGANIZE BY THEME

    My kids both have their books organized by theme on the bookshelves in their rooms. More specifically, I’ve chosen to surround them with books where they can see themselves being represented within the pages and on the covers.

    As a parent, my goal is to present my children with a full spectrum of Black and Brown characters in a variety of books. I want their experiences of story and representations of the world to include people of color, people they can imagine being like — people like Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Misty Copeland, Michelle Obama, and Michael Jordan — or fictional characters with whom they can identify.

    By placing these types of books in their rooms, I hope it reminds my kids daily that they are loved, seen, powerful and worthy of self-love and respect.

    ORGANIZATION METHOD #3: MONTHLY/WEEKLY RANDOM ROTATION

    For this method I use book bins to help keep books organized. The books that are placed in the bins vary from week to week, month to month or day to day. I generally rotate the kids’ book bins (which are placed in their rooms on the floor) once per week or once per month.

    Sometimes the book bins are filled with seasonal or holiday books, but most often these are the books my kids choose to read at bedtime or during story time throughout the week. Book bins also allow my kids to have more independence and select books to read on their own.

    Book bin courtesy of Fankang
    Book bin courtesy of Hunrung

    ORGANIZATION METHOD #4: ORGANIZE BY ROOM

    I’ll admit, we have books in almost every room in our home. For example, we place cookbooks in the kitchen area, personal growth and business/career related books in the office and holiday books are stored in the basement with holiday decorations.

    BEFORE YOU BEGIN ORGANIZING

    Before you begin putting your books in order, you may want to take an inventory of what’s currently in your collection. Decide which books you want to keep, ones you want to donate and ones you want to give away to others. Once per quarter I purge all of our books and decide which ones we’ll keep, donate or give away. I usually end up finding duplicate copies or books my kids have outgrown. Those books automatically fall into either the donate or give away piles.

    THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

    Looking for an app to help keep your home library even more organized?

    A few weeks ago I started using a FREE app called Libib to catalog and keep track of all the books we own. I love it because it’s very user-friendly and the free version allows you to scan/enter up to 5,000 books, video games, movies and albums. Simply scan your books or other items by barcode or you can input them manually. Check it out!

    OTHER WAYS TO ORGANIZE

    Recently, I asked my audience on Instagram how they organize their books at home. Below find some of their suggestions that may help you too.

    • Organize alphabetically
    • Organize by genre, category, subject or theme
    • Separate paperback books from hard covers
    • Organize by size (tallest to shortest or shortest to tallest)
    • Organize books in a series together
    • Organize by author or illustrator last names
    • Organize by publishing company
    • Organize non-fiction books by the Dewey decimal system and fiction books separated by genre then alphabetically
    • Organize by type (chapter books, picture books, early readers, board books, holiday books, adult books)
    • Organize classic books in one area and Newberry/award winning books in another area
    • Random piles throughout the house – a free for all!
    • No organization – just go with the flow

    As you can see, there is no one size fits all when it comes to book organization. Ultimately, you’ll want to do what works best for you and your family. If you’d like to organize or re-organize books in your home, I hope this has given you a few tips to help get you started.

    TIPS TO SCORE FREE OR DISCOUNTED BOOKS TO BUILD YOUR HOME LIBRARY

    You may also want to check out my blog post (linked here) which provides you with resources to find free or discounted books for your home library. One of my favorite sources is Bookshop.org.

    Your turn: Sound off in the comments and let me know how you organize your books at home.

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    adult books, children's books, children's literacy, indie bookstores, young adult books

    Introducing Bookshop: The Indie Amazon for Book Lovers

    Introducing Bookshop: The Indie Amazon for Book Lovers

    Attention book lovers! There’s a new online bookstore in town and its name is Bookshop, also known as the Indie Amazon. Have you heard of them yet?

    Launched in January 2020 by Andy Hunter, Bookshop.org is an online e-commerce bookstore and affiliate network that helps benefit independent book stores. Their ultimate goal? Take book business back from online retail giant Amazon.

    When I found out about Bookshop, I was super excited and began setting up my online book store immediately. Bookshop’s affiliate program is available to magazines, book stores and book bloggers, offering a 10 percent commission. This is a HIGHER affiliate commission rate than what Amazon currently offers so for me it was a no brainer to sign up as an affiliate. Plus, I get to support indie book stores and my local community. Win-win!

    I love having Bookshop as an alternative resource for purchasing books AND giving my audience another choice besides always referring them to Amazon. Plus, the website interface is beautiful, organized and well thought out. I can’t wait to finish creating all of my diverse and inclusive book lists in my new Bookshop store!

    Here’s how it works:

    Instead of ordering books from Amazon, head out Bookshop.org. It’s an easy way to support your local independent bookshop or just indies in general. When you’re shopping on the site, you can either find your favorite bookshop or you can shop without specifying a particular store and the profit will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores – even ones that don’t use bookshop.org! How awesome is that? Bookshop affiliates set up their online book store the same way they would on Amazon.

    Let’s face it, Amazon doesn’t need any more money. Am I right? I’m more than happy to make the change and start forming a new habit when it comes to purchasing books and making book recommendations. I’ll still keep my Amazon store updated with new books too, but I feel really good about giving my audience another choice when it comes to buying books. Bookshop.org has books for children, teens, and adults.

    Your turn: Are you planning to set up an affiliate account with Bookshop? Will you start using Bookshop to purchase books instead of using Amazon? Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, diverse books

    FREE Bookish Printables, Crafts and Coloring Sheets with Diverse Characters

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, very few of us were prepared for the challenge of keeping our kids busy and entertained while working from home. It definitely hasn’t hasn’t been easy in our household. Some days have been incredibly stressful and logistically challenging, but overall we’re coping and have adjusted to our new temporary routine and schedule.

    Thankfully, several authors have created free resources to help us go through this unanticipated staycation. Our state recently announced schools will be closed for the rest of the school year, so we’ll be using lots of different resources like the ones mentioned below in the weeks and months ahead.

    Below you’ll find a list of FREE printables, coloring sheets and activity sheets that feature diverse characters. I hope you find them to be helpful to you and your family.

    Collage Fun at Home with Author/Illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton
    Watch this fascinating video and have kids make their own collages! Vanessa Brantley – Newton Shares a collage project that adults and children can do together to pass the time. All you need is some scrap papers, crayons or magic markers or temper paint, scissors and glue.

    Tiara’s Hat Parade
    Author Kelly Starling Lyons has a variety of different printable resources for her latest book Tiara’s Hat Parade. There are coloring pages, a template for a paper doll and more!

    Vashti Harrison
    Author/illustrator Vashti Harrison invites little readers to create their own Little Leaders, match up Little Dreamers with this activity sheet, and make Little Legends paper dolls with her free printables. There is also a word search activity.

    Sharee Miller
    Author/illustrator Sharee Miller is offering the most adorable printables and activity sheets…all for FREE!

    Princess Hair – This Princess has lost her hair. Help draw her hair under her crown and color her in!
    Draw Your Own Princess – Stretch those creative muscles and draw your own princess (or prince).
    5 Things I Love About My Hair – List 5 things you love about your hair.
    Coloring Pages – A bundle of coloring pages featuring Black characters.

    Janae Marks
    In the mood for baking? Debut author Janae Marks who wrote From the Desk of Zoe Washington has a recipe for Froot Loop Cereal Cupcakes on her website. Download it here. She also has a music playlist which features all of the songs that appeared in the book.

    Photo courtesy of Janae Marks website

    Every Child a Reader
    As an annual tradition of Children’s Book Week, esteemed children’s book illustrators are chosen to create bookmarks which celebrate children’s books and reading. This year, in keeping with the theme of Read. Dream. Share., seven artists have contributed their beautiful and inspiring artwork. These bookmarks are available to print and distribute to children, teens, and book lovers everywhere!

    Download bookmarks and activities here from authors John Parra, Duncan Tonatiuh, Vanessa Brantley-Newton and more!

    Illustration courtesy of John Parra from the Every Child a Reader website

    Your turn: What diverse and inclusive bookish resources have you used with your little readers or students. Should I add any additional resources to this list? Feel free to share in the comments so we can all learn.

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    family fun

    Starting a Family Newsletter: A Fun Quarantine Activity

    Starting a Family Newsletter

    It took a virus to slow us down.  The coronavirus pandemic has brought our frantic pace of living to a screeching halt. Practicing social distancing at home with my family has allowed me time to evaluate the things in my life that matter the most. In short, COVID-19 has changed my perspective of living in the most unexpected and meaningful ways, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

    As a result of being safe at home, I decided to start a family newsletter to journal our quarantine experience.  We are currently making history right now and I want to remember how we spent these precious days together.

    Each day my kids take turns being the “journalist” of the day.  They write down things like: what we did each day, the meals we ate, who we prayed for, quotes, the best moment of the day and anything new each person in the family learned.  We also include any pictures taken each day. At the end of the month I type up the newsletter and print it out as a keepsake.

    I think it will be fun for us to look back years from now and remember how we bonded during a time when our usual activities were put on hold. Plus, this family activity helps to improve my children’s writing, communication and typing skills. A win-win for the whole family.

    If you’re looking for a fun family activity that will keep each member of your family engaged, start your own family newsletter. Give it a catchy title, come up with a design and then start creating content.

    What kind of content should you put in family newsletter?

    Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

    Family recipes
    Your family tree
    Recent achievements
    Memorable moments
    Birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, birth announcements, celebrations
    Historical facts
    Trivia questions
    Funny jokes
    Family quotes
    Prayers

    Every member of the household can make contributions to the newsletter. Even a preschooler can dictate what he or she remembers most about the past month, year or quarter. Or you can ask little ones to draw their favorite memories.

    How often your newsletter comes out depends how much news – and time – you have to put in. A once-a-month newsletter was our choice. You could also choose to have a quarterly or once-a-year newsletter you publish around the holidays.

    If you’re looking for a simple and cost effective activity, starting a newsletter can be an effective way of strengthening connections between family members. Why not give it a try?

    Your turn: Does your family have a newsletter? How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your perspective about life and living? Feel free to share in the comments.

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